kanarinka's blog

Serendipity Beyond Mass Personalization

While personalization is useful in moderation, creators that employ excessive personalization might consider a warning message like the above.

This blog post is part of my epic (only to me) quest to write a thesis about serendipity and online information discovery. Here I detail the strategies that creators are using to inspire curiosity and retain user attention that do not require mass personalization. These include novel news delivery, conceptual experiments, wide spectrum/narrow format and including participatory voices.

Design Strategies for Serendipity and How They Might Fail

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Terra Incognita: 1000 Cities of the World is a global news recommendation system and game that invites readers to explore news about the 1000 most important cities in the world (some of which we guarantee you have never heard of).

Surveillance and the Open Internet

From the program: Revelations about the extent of US government surveillance of digital communications have changed the debate about internet governance, online privacy, and the role of the internet as a public sphere. In a post-Snowden era, how do we protect revelations from human rights activists? Of journalistic sources? What does surveillance mean for vulnerable populations? Will surveillance change the web as we know it from a single, connected network to one where national sovereignty is increasingly important?


Responsive Cities: Susan Crawford at the 2014 Knight Civic Media Conference

Susan Crawford on stage at the 2014 Knight-Civic Media Conference

Cities and citizens around the world are using data around the world to thicken democratic engagement. Susan Crawford will expand on themes from her new book, "The Responsive City," co-authored with Stephen Goldsmith, and the heroism it describes—together with the many open policy questions it raises.

The Calculus of Civic Engagement - Anthea Watson Strong at PDF'14

Anthea Watson Strong is a community organizer and leader on the Google civic engagement team. This is the first of two talks on what is the civic tech ecosystem, where do we fit and how do we grow it?

How can we do a better job of designing civic engagement tools? Two points:

The 3rd of July - Brad Smith, General Counsel for Microsoft at PDF'14

He decided to talk about the 3rd of July. What happened then? It was the day between the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the 4th of July. John Adams wrote a letter to Abigail to recall the event that had started everything that led to the American Revolution. He traced the initial event to a specific place - the State House in Boston in 1771. A case argued there let the British go from house to house without any probable cause. This infringed peoples basic liberties. John Adams was in the audience and throughout his life it was that case, that courtroom, that day that set this country on a course for independence.

Edward Snowden in conversation with John Perry Barlow - Liveblog at PDF'14


JPB: National security is not our borders. It's the founding documents that we still profess to believe in. If we are insecure in our beliefs, then that's a threat to national security.

Snowden: Are we protecting the nation or are we protecting the state? If we are destroying those values, are we really making progress ? Is that what America is about? We say good night to someone we love we have to think about what that's going to look like in a government database 5 years from now. This should be a concern to every American.

The Battle for the Open Internet: Personal Democracy Forum Liveblog

Micah Sifry introduces Personal Democracy Forum, now in its twelfth year. The NSA-Snowden Affair broke right as the last PDF was going on. The first theme of the conference is "Save the Internet" - this could be the year that the battle really happens. Many people that are trying to keep the Internet open and free are here. The open Internet is threatened because of how the whole system is regulated or not regulated correctly. Net neutrality will also be a big topic today.

Terra Incognita: Live in the Chrome Store

Terra Incognita: 1000 Cities of the World is a global news game and recommendation system designed to help you discover relevant, fun, weird, interesting or stereotype-busting information about 1000 global cities.

We have just launched Terra Incognita in the Chrome Web Store so you can install it right here and right now.

The only requirement is that you need to use Google Chrome to browse the web (since it's a Chrome extension). And we are still in the process of running our user study so there are a couple of forms to fill out on your way into the application. All comments, questions, bugs and feature suggestions can be sent to Catherine (moi). Thank you for your participation!

Iyad Rahwan on Scalable Civics


Iyad Rahwan is giving a special talk today at the MIT Media Lab. Here's his bio from the event announcement:


Iyad Rahwan, a native of Aleppo, Syria, is an associate professor at